This book came from my own shelves, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Series: Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #14
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Hit List, Bloody Bones, Killing Dance, Burnt Offerings, Narcissus in Chains, Obsidian Butterfly, Bite, Incubus Dreams, Micah, The Harlequin, Blood Noir, Skin Trade, Flirt, Bullet, Never After, Kiss the Dead, The First Death, Affliction, Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, "Shutdown", A Kiss of Shadows, Lunatic Café, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, A Lick of Frost, Blue Moon, Dead Ice, Jason, Crimson Death.
Fourteenth in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, erotic urban-fantasy series set in an alternate St. Louis, Missouri, revolving around the increasingly embedded Anita Blake.
Busy, busy, busy … again. Anita has a very complicated life being involved with vampires and the triumvirates. And she is such a pain in the ass. She insists she wants honesty and then she punishes anyone who delivers. The woman can’t get out of her own way! There are so many times that I just want to smack her around!
And life is certainly complicated in Danse Macabre what with Anita needing better “food” for the ardeur, having to keep from draining the life from Damian or Nathaniel, preventing Marmee Noir from taking her over, and coping with Richard and Ronnie’s issues. Of course, Anita brings all her own issues to the table. Lord, she’s stubborn and obtuse.
News Flash!! Not. Richard behaves like an ass. Again. Joseph has a surprising theory about the vampire marks on Anita and her ability to call animals.
As part of the positive public relations for which the Vampire Council is eager — and Jean-Claude’s desire to promote a vampire business — JC has underwritten a vampire ballet company, which seems to be celebrating a successful tour with a performance in St. Louis. Jean-Claude has arranged for a gala benefit with a dinner to follow for a number of vampire Masters of various cities including Chicago and Cape Cod.
As a sort of rehearsal for the dinner, Jean-Claude has arranged a pre-benefit gathering of the Masters whom he considers “friends”. Friends who have brought pommes de sang candidates for Anita. A gathering which goes horribly wrong and right for everyone.
Crises of all sorts are looming: Anita’s possible pregnancy; Augustine “Auggie”, the Master of Chicago, has introduced Haven, “Cookie”, a lion shifter, whom Anita’s lioness wants; Asher and Anita get carried away much too far; Requiem and London’s addiction; and, Marmee Noir has emerged again.
Anita Blake has so many roles and with each book, she seems to add to them. Born a necromancer, she had the skills to be a vampire hunter — vampires refer to her as The Executioner. She eventually became a part of Jean-Claude’s triumvirate along with Richard and accidentally created her own, secondary triumvirate with Nathaniel and Damian. In a triumvirate, the participants exchange parts of themselves with Anita taking on a deeper appreciation for blood thanks to Richard, JC’s pragmatism, and, unfortunately, the ardeur from the Belle Morte bloodline.
Jean-Claude is a 600-year-old vampire … the further into the series we get, the older JC seems to get … ??! Master of the City of St. Louis, JC has become his own bloodline; one of only three vampires in centuries to achieve this. He is also in love with Anita and very carefully does nothing that will anger her. Asher has been JC’s companion, friend, and lover for hundreds of years … with some time off for revenge when JC was unable to rescue Juliana. He also acquires an animal-to-call.
Ronnie is finally moving in with Louis, a wererat and one of Richard’s friends; it terrifies her so much, that, along with the envy she has for Anita’s lifestyle, she rips into Anita displaying the anger and desire she has for Nathaniel.
Micah is Anita’s Nimir Raj or leopard king to her Nimir Ra. Faithful, steady, and oh, so very reliable and flexible while Nathaniel is her animal-to-call in her triumvirate with Damian, a vampire who is hundreds of years old but will never be a master. Nathaniel behaves a bit out of character in this story as he displays possessiveness and a dangerous flirting to ensure Anita’s safety.
The Thronnos Rokke Clan is…
…the local werewolf pack with Richard Zeeman as its Ulfric and Anita as his lupa. In hiding to keep his junior high science teacher job, Richard both hates and loves Anita and his supernatural self. He is also JC’s animal-to-call and part of a triumvirate with JC and Anita. Richard is also the reason their triumvirate is in trouble so often. Not that Anita is so very helpful at making things work.
Jason’s here, as necessary as ever as a friend to Anita and Nathaniel and Jean-Claude’s animal-to-call; Graham is still a pain in the ass; and, Clay demonstrates an empathic nature which Anita so greatly appreciates.
The Vampires include…
…Requiem is still here and still in love with Anita although she does learn through the ardeur of his true desire and his honesty creates problems for everyone with Meng Die while London, christened the “Dark Knight” by his fellow vamps, turns out to have some very valuable abilities.
The Wererats include…
…Claudia is as strong as ever with Fredo and Lisandro helping with bodyguard duties. Joseph is the local Rex and doesn’t seem to be taking Anita’s problems very seriously since he provides her with weak “food” alternatives, Travis and Noel.
…Remus is one of the hyena bodyguards and has some issues with Anita’s ardeur until he realizes it truly is a life-and-death issue.
The Cape Cod contingent…
…consists of Samuel, the Master of the City married to a siren, Thea, who have brought their three sons — Sampson, Thomas, and Cristos — as possible candidates for Anita.
The Chicago contingent…
…consists of Auggie, the Master of the City, with a deep desire to re-experience the ardeur; Octavius, his extremely paranoid human servant; and, Pierce and Haven, lionshifters Auggie has brought as possible candidates. Both lionshifters are thugs. Obvious enforcers for Auggie but, still, there is something about Haven, “Cookie” as Anita has christened him for his blue hair, that attracts Anita’s lioness.
Marmee Noir is the Mother of All Darkness. Many think she is the mother of the vampire race and a shapeshifter herself. Cats are her animal-to-call. Imprisoned centuries ago, Marmee Noir is waking up and looking for a vessel to hold her. Ideally a necromancer …
The Cover and Title
The cover is very appropriate with its black corset-clad Anita dangling a pair of red toe shoes down her back, the ties “tying” her wrists together. The title is also appropriate as the ballet company brings a Danse Macabre to St. Louis, Jean-Claude, and his people.